We’re all familiar with that sound now, that very British interpretation of radio-soul with the old-school jangle. Takes precisely 0.01 seconds for that to kick in on Izzy Bizu‘s debut album, A Moment of Madness, which feels like a rather ironic title for a record that plays it disappointingly safe.
Not that Bizu is to blame though. She makes the most of her time in the spotlight, belting it with some proper heart on opener Diamond. It’s more what’s around her that lets her down – the big brass orchestration of Skinny that we’ve heard everywhere from Clare Maguire to Rebecca Ferguson, the string-driven Motown throwback of Give Me Love, the kick-beats of Naive Soul that doesn’t really do justice to a voice that’s clearly capable of so much more than background pop at a party in the local WMC.
It’s unsurprising that Bizu found herself on the BRITs Critics’ Choice shortlist – like others in that pool, this too come across as a showcase for an act who’s had her personality sanded down over the course of several studio sessions, each added layer of production sanding down any welcome rough edge (“Are ya gonna leave this town?/ Could you just please stick around?/ I saw your picture on my bedroom door/ You left a note saying no no more” – come on, we all deserve better in 2016). Bizu still rises above it though, her voice booming clear on Adam & Eve and carrying White Tiger into palatable hits. But to see someone with such a sharp talent fall prey once again to the saltless sea of the Radio 2 crowd? The decision to go down that road seems like the only real moment of utter madness here.